Sande Charles has faced challenges, overcome obstacles and experienced memorable moments throughout her career. Her passion for the game was developed at an early age, with her father, who is a passionate Yankees fan and her five brothers. We spoke with Charles about her career, life, and experiences on and off the field.
At the urging of her father, Charles attended Arizona State University and graduated with a degree in biology. The pursuit of a television career would come calling shortly after graduation.
“I did biology because I wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to help people. I always had that passion for being on tv. My dad in college said ‘Look you have to get a real degree. You’re not going to get this or this if I’m paying for it.’ For parents, journalism and broadcasting are scary because you don’t know the end. I understood and respected my dad’s wishes. I got my biology degree. Once I graduated, the very next day I said ‘Dad, I did what you said. I’m moving to LA.’ I moved everything to LA the very next day.”
In some professions such as doctors and attorneys, you know where your outcome is. Breaking into the sports television industry comes with its challenges, but patience and perseverance eventually pay off.
“The biggest challenge is this is not a career that you know the outcome. Being a lawyer, you know that you’re going to go to college, take the bar and you’re a lawyer. I had five jobs at one time, trying to make ends meet. I had to pay for food with quarters. The people that surrounded me are amazing. That’s how I got through it. Holding on and knowing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to be persistent. You have to be patient and your time will come. 12 years of struggle, struggle, struggle, and finally, it all started clicking. You have to stay relevant. You have to constantly be creating. There’s competition, but there’s room at the top for all of us.”
Charles has covered prestigious events such as the World Series and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The 2013 All-Star game was a personal favorite for many reasons.
“Hands down the 2013 All-Star Game at Citifield. It was just incredible. My first time in New York, it was beautiful. The Mets did such a great job putting it on. I love the city and I love being there. That’s at the top of mine.”
The 2013 mid-summer classic was the final All-Star game appearance for legendary closer Mariano Rivera. It was an emotional moment and she had her father in the back of her mind while taking in the experience.
“I was balling. That whole moment I was sitting in the tv truck while the game was going on. I was crying like a baby it was so surreal. The reaction of the players and then standing up and letting him have his moment. I sent a picture to my dad that night. He’s always in the back of my mind in anything that I do.”
Alcoholism is a disorder that affects thousands and its impacts in some cases are felt by children. As a result, those experiences last well into adulthood and it led Charles to become and advocate for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.
“I got involved because of my dad. You don’t realize how much it affects you. You carry that through your life. It’s hard seeing your parents or a family member go through that. I just randomly googled and found the site. I talked to them on the phone about being a counselor. Kids that are going through it, I don’t want them to go through that path. It’s about being the advocate for those kids.
Working in sports television isn’t easy or for those that unsure about working in the industry. Being successful requires commitment, hard work, and patience.
“This is a weed out profession. They want to weed out the ones that aren’t really sure about it. You have to be persistent. This career takes every ounce of you. Knowing that and going forward you can make the right decision for you.
Be patient. You have to know that you’re going to see people constantly around you booking stuff. That doesn’t mean that your chance isn’t coming, it just means that it hasn’t come yet. Have faith. Keep working and get out there and practice. Practice, practice, practice.
Whatever you do, [do it] with integrity and class. Keep pushing and don’t give up. I busted my butt, moved up the ranks and earned respect.”
*Photo Credit: Christina Tetreault